Page 4 - June 19, 2017
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Community Futures reveals Business Visitation Study results

by Adrienne Tait “attracting new customers continues to be a strategically.
challenge,” Robins told council. Councillor Bevan said there once was a Business
Community Futures West Yellowhead general Robins said that one notable outcome of the Support Network in Edson but it unfortunately “got
manager Nancy Robins presented Town Council Edson businesses surveyed compared to other derailed” and he would like to see one like
with the Edson Business Visitation Study results regional municipalities is the amount of ownership Hinton's. One concern mentioned in the report was
during the Committee of the Whole meeting on local businesses stake in their own entrepreneurial the lack of sports facilities or facilities in general,
June 13. growth. “As this was an open-ended question Bevan said, “Our facilities are poor – we hear that a
The study, comprised of 26 questions, was business owners had the opportunity to answer lot.”
completed with 300 business owners and managers however they chose, a large portion reiterated that Robins said that one of the side effects of living
across all industries within the Edson business if the business community wanted to experience within an hour of a new facility, such as the one in
community. According to the report, “Edson has positive change in Edson they would need to be Whitecourt, is that people tend to compare.
the largest of the West Yellowhead business responsible for stepping up and making it happen,” When asked how Edson is doing compared to
communities with over 700 issued licences.” 611 of the report states. other municipalities in the region Robins said, “The
those businesses were identified as having a daily 64% of businesses surveyed did not believe the oil and gas downturn has been hard for everyone.
presence within the community. minimum wage increase negatively affected their We [Community Futures West Yellowhead] have
97% of Edson businesses employ less than 25 business as they were already paying above seen tremendous growth from people looking at
people and are considered small businesses. The minimum wage. However, 97% of business in the expanding or starting up. We are actually seeing a
study revealed there are severalhome-based retail and wholesale trade sector stated that they lot of growth.”
businesses operating without purchasing a business were, or will be, negatively affected by the
licence and are not included in the results. standardized increase and many have already
This is the first Business Visitation Study of its experienced drastic changes. Prices on goods and Edson trails
size to be completed in Edson. Smaller studies services for those businesses could increase by as
much as 20% to combat the wage increase and
conducted in the past were more focused on some businesses feared that doing so would prevent targeted by graffiti
specific topics and initiated by the municipality.
The Community Future study engaged businesses people from shopping locally.
with an active presence in the community and Robins told council the survey revealed several The Town of Edson is asking residents to keep an
focused on five key factors: Type of Business, areas in which Edson is doing quite well including eye out for some mischief on the trail system.
Labour, Business Conditions and Trends, Future parks, trails, special events, and cultural identity. Over the last few weeks, trails in the Pine Grove
Business Plans, and Informational and Community Suggestions to foster growth included new area, as well as trails around 10 Avenue, have been
Factors. business incentives, awareness and marketing targeted by graffiti. It's estimated the cost of
“The average Edson resident is between the ages campaigns for community events, create a cleanup is in the neighbourhood of $5,000 so far.
of 25 and 39, which aligns well with the age of the sustainable shop local campaign, establish a Community Services Director Jim Desautels says
average Canadian entrepreneur and bodes well for business support network, and increase support and it's very frustrating. “Money and manpower spent
entrepreneurship within the community,” states the communications from key organizations. cleaning up after these graffiti and vandalism
report. Identified barriers to growth included recent sprees takes away from other areas of town that we
Edson businesses responded that employee changes by the NDP government, off-site levies, could be working on”
retention is currently not an issue however, most of the entrance to Edson, traffic lights, and RCMP have been notified of the incidents and
the retail and service businesses surveyed indicated accessibility. both the RCMP and Edson Community Peace
they face significant challenges with regards to The report included recommendations and goals Officers are committed to patrolling the trail system
employee retention when the oil and gas sector is for future planning highlighted under five at times through the summer months. If residents
busy. Edson retail businesses have strong numbers, categories: celebrate and encourage business in notice any suspicious activity, on the trails or
over 60% of their business, as repeat customers but Edson, increase community engagement, increase elsewhere, they're asked to contact the RCMP
communication, invest in the future, and think immediately.

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